Global Warming is Half the Story

Naomi Klein has written a strong, compassionate article about this summer’s fires and hurricanes, and has illustrated it with stunning and heartbreaking photographs.

Her title suggests that her purpose may have been to answer the question as to why in a summer of wildfires and hurricanes “everything is going wrong.” She talks about global environmental catastrophe and big oil. If she were a Cascadian, she would speak about how land use policy, governmental and business policy towards Indigenous people and earth, American personal mythology, as well as forest policy, and water management policy errors have catastrophically intercepted the effects of Big Oil to create extreme situations. Every fire, and every hurricane, needs breakable conditions to create breakage. Ms. Klein also speaks about the necessity of protest and resistance, which are, without argument, important political tools, yet she doesn’t speak about Henry David Thoreau, who insisted, before and during the American Civil War of 1861-1865 that the issue at hand was slavery and the mechanism at play was industrial land use. To speak so transformatively is the real resistance. Thoreau’s resistance walked hand in hand with the creation of Cascadia out of the struggles of slavery and freedom in industrialized mid-19th century USA and its corollary forces in Britain, and their intersection with Indigenous struggles to maintain the earth within human social relationships. You can’t talk about the place without talking about this intersection. Anything else is to talk about the United States, or Canada. That’s like trying to speak about Mozambique by talking about Slovakia. If Ms. Klein were from the grasslands of Cascadia, she would use the words summer with great care. It’s not a word that fits very well here. I was quite shocked to hear her talk in such an elite way about the fires that are still burning in my country, in an apocalyptic fashion, too. The task of speaking better, and indigenously, gets harder all the time for all the smoke.

Shuswap Lake

The rising sun should just not be this darned red.

4 replies »

    • Thank you for the support. I have learned a lot from your comments on this blog as well. Naomi Klein will learn according to what she is ready to learn. I hope she is ready to learn some of these lessons about the local face of global forces, because down on the ground there is much work that can be done, constructively. Down here, the apocalypse she dreads has already happened. The territory is well known.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I think that the capacity to learn being related to a kind of readiness is really important here. The great teachers have always had extraordinary patience and a capacity to forgive while refusing to give up on their pedagogical mission.
        Do you have any hope for the renewal of your valley?


  1. Thanks for your clear thoughts here, and for reminding me of what I’ve been feeling these last few days. It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve realized that what I’ve been working towards for five years, a deep indigenous understanding, has come to fruition, and it’s time for the next step, which is the teaching. Do I have any hope for renewal? Indeed, I do. There are many young people, for instance, with a desire to connect, there is a renewed energy in the aboriginal community, which is an honour to walk with, and there are many practical things we can do, while working towards larger change. But the challenges are great.


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